Botanical Name: Astaxanthin
Family Name: Xanthophyll
Common Name: Astaxanthine, Astaxantina, Dihydroxy-3,3' dioxo-4,4' bêta-carotène, Microalgae, Microalgue, Micro-Algue, Ovoester, 3,3'-dihydroxy-4,4'-diketo-beta-carotene, 3S,3'S-astaxanthin, 3R,3'R-astaxanthin, 3R,3'S-astaxanthin.
The main natural source of astaxanthin is the microalgae called Haematococcus pluvialis. It accumulates the highest level of astaxanthin in nature. 40 grams of astaxanthin can be obtained from I kg of dry biomass. The population of these microalgae is doubled every week. Phaffia yeast provided 100% free, non-esterified astaxanthin and it is readily absorbable and need to be hydrolysed in the digestive tract of the fish. For the humans being this is a good food supplement. It has a potent astaxanthin activity and is beneficial in cardiovascular, immune, inflammatory and neurodegenerative diseases. It protects the body tissues from oxidative and ultraviolet damages. It has the potential power to modulate aging. Astaxanthin is used for treating Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, brain attack (stroke), high cholesterol and macular degeneration. It can be used for preventing cancer also. As per studies, Men taking astaxanthin daily for 3 month have increases fertility. Consuming the product containing astaxanthin daily for 8 weeks reduces the menopausal symptoms like hot flashes, joint pain, moodiness and bladder control. Astaxanthin, when applied directly to the skin can protect it from sunburn. It protects the cells from damage and also helps in the improvement of the immune system. Taking astaxanthin twice daily for 6 weeks improves the skin elasticity, fine lines and wrinkles in middle aged women. It also improves the moisture content in the skin.
Commonly Known Benefits
Astaxanthin is a keto carotenoid and it belongs to the chemical compounds called terpenes. These are built from five carbon precursors called isopentenyl, diphosphate and dimethylallyl diphosphate. Astaxanthin is a metabolite of zeaxanthin and canthaxanthin which contains both hydroxyl and ketone functional groups. Astaxanthin is a colourful lipid soluble pigment. Astaxanthin is found in yeast, salmon, microalgae, trout, krill, shrimp, crayfish, crustaceans and the feathers of some birds. The red color of the salmon meat and red color of the cooked shellfish is obtained through Astaxanthin. The oral absorption power of astaxanthin is limited. It has a slightly lower antioxidant activity in some model systems when compared to other carotenoids. It is natural dietary component and it can also be used as a food supplement. Supplement can be used by human, animals and aquaculture animals. The commercials production comes from both natural and synthetic sources. The Arctic shrimp is colored by astaxanthin and it is sued commercially as astaxanthin source. The other sources of for the commercial production of astaxanthin is Pacific krill, Antartic krill, Microalgae, Arctic shrimp and yeast. Lobsters, shrimps and some kinds of crabs turn red in color when cooked because the astaxanthin which was bound to the protein in the shell becomes free as the protein denatures and unwinds. The pigments which are freed are available to absorb light and this action produces the red color.